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2019 South Amherst Levy Request

The South Amherst Fire Department (SAFD) is asking for help in making improvements so that we can meet the emergency incident response needs in our community.  On November 5th, 2019 the fire levy passed.  The fire levy can only be used to purchase vehicles and equipment.

 

Below is an explanation of the history of the proposal, the needs identified, the plan to address those needs, budgets, and the cost of the proposal.

History of the Current Proposal

Since 1989, there has been no fire levy funding for vehicle purchases.  Since that time, the South Amherst Fire Department has worked hard to find other ways to fund vehicle replacement needs.  The South Amherst Fire Department has obtained two Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to fund purchases, once in 2011 for a new tanker (a vehicle that brings water to fires that occur in areas that do not have fire hydrants) and in 2016, for a new brush fire truck.

Despite that success, the South Amherst Fire Department is in dire need of vehicle replacements.  Our 30 year old Engine 102 has a leaking water tank and does not meet current firefighter safety standards.  Rescue 108 is 21 years old and becoming mechanically unsound.  It has been our front-line response unit for motor vehicle crashes since 1998 and is a crucial component of our emergency operations.  

In order to keep the village safe, the South Amherst Fire Department will need a fire levy to replace these units.

Identified Needs

Below is an explanation of the needs, the plan to address them and the approximate costs of the plan for a residential taxpayer.

NOTE:  Please do not take any part of this video as an attempt to lobby for an approval of this levy request.  It is only meant to provide information so that voters can make informed decisions on their own.

  This is a summary of the major concerns that have been identified:

Overview:

  • The SAFD services the Village's 2.49 square miles that includes 683 homes, 10 businesses and 6 churches. This does not include the 3 other townships and the section of the Ohio Turnpike that we respond to. 

    • As of the census of 2010, there were 1,688 people, 665 households, and 506 families residing in the village. 

    • 2018 population estimate (as of July 1, 2018) was 1,682.

    • Since 2010 the SAFD averages 292 calls per year. 

    • Since July of 2017 the SAFD have responded to 525 calls. 

      • Engine 102 has responded to 54 of those calls.

      • Rescue 108 has responded to 119 of those calls.

    • In 2018 ​

      • Engine 102 responded to 22 calls​.

      • Engine 103 responded to 80 calls.

      • Rescue 108 responded to 54 calls.

  • NFPA​

    • The National Fire Protection Association Code 1911 having to deal with "Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Emergency Vehicles" Appendix D states:

      • "To maximize fire fighter capabilities and minimize risk of injuries, it is important that fire apparatus be equipped with the latest safety features and operating capabilities."

      • "In the last 10 to 15 years, much progress has been made in upgrading functional capabilities and improving the safety features of fire apparatus. Apparatus more than 15 years old might include only a few of the safety upgrades required by the recent editions of the NFPA fire department apparatus standards or the equivalent Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) standards. Because the changes, upgrades, and fine tuning to the NFPA 1901 have been truly significant, especially in the area of safety, fire departments should seriously consider the value, (or risk) to fire fighters of keeping fire apparatus more than 15 years old in first-line service."

      • "Apparatus that were not manufactured to the applicable NFPA fire apparatus standards or that are over 25 years old should be replaced."

Concerns:

  • Engine 102 

    • 1,000 gallon water tank leaks. To replace new water tank could cost approximately $10,000.​

    • The front brakes on the Engine are getting thin and need to be replaced in the near future.  The parts are obsolete, to repair the Engine's entire front end including the axle would have to be replaced just for new brakes. 

    • Personnel seated in the rear of this vehicle are exposed to the elements.

      • NFPA 1901 Chapter 14.1.1 states "Each crew riding position shall be within a fully enclosed personal area​

    • Vehicle has limited compartment space.​​​​

    • To this day, goes on various types of calls such as

      • Storm Damage​

      • Fire/Gas Investigations

      • Burning Complaints

      • Wild land Fires

      • Pole/Transformer Fires

      • Wires Down

      • Structure Fire

 

  • Rescue 108​

    • This trucks PTO is not reliable, and disengages at random times.

    • Vehicle has been used as a primary response apparatus for 21 years.

    • Vehicle has outdated emergency and scene lighting.

    • To this day, goes on various types of calls such as

      • Storm Damage​

      • Fire/Gas Investigations

      • Pole/Transformer Fire

      • Wires Down

      • Natural Gas/Propane Leak

      • Vehicle Accidents

      • Backup-EMS

      • Structure Fires

Plan to Address Needs

SAFD’s 30-year-old and 21-year-old apparatuses, neither of which were designed for use as a front line apparatus for this extended period of time are due for an upgrade.

  • Engine 102 (1989 Pierce Engine):

    • Was purchased as a front line engine by the Village by Fire Chief Hubert Hevener.

    • Mayor at time of purchase was Kenneth Jones.

    • Was purchased for $150,000

    • Was the primary engine for all fires for 16 years until Engine 103 was purchased in 2005 for $249,000.

    • To this day, engine 102 is still being used a first out engine for mutual aid fires as well as other types of calls in South Amherst's service area.

  • Rescue 108 (1998 International 4700)​

    • Was purchased as primary ​rescue by the Village by  Fire Chief David Faight. 

    • Mayor at the time was Chester Arcaba.

    • Was purchased for $153,000

    • Serves as the primary apparatus for all motor vehicle accidents for the last 21 years as well as utilized for other various calls. 

    • Was the primary vehicle for EMS calls until 2015 when 106 was purchased. 

  • Concerns regarding using outdated apparatus include:​

    • Lack of adequate seat belts and other protection equipment like airbags.

    • Unsafe riding location.

      • Crew members riding in the rear of the engine are exposed to the elements, excessive heat from the engine in the summer, along with snow and cold in the winter.

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Budgeting

The South Amherst Fire Department has a yearly operating budget of about $150,000.  This is composed of village funds and funds from the three townships that the SAFD services.  Henrietta, Brownhelm and New Russia Township contract for our department to cover a portion of their township areas. Those funds contribute to the department's yearly operating budget.  Yearly funds are used in a multitude of ways:  

  • Administrative Costs

    • firefighter wages​

    • insurance for firefighters

    • workman's compensation

    • life insurance

  • Equipment Costs

    • inspections​

    • testing of ladders

    • air packs

    • pump

    • extrication equipment

  • Maintenance Costs

    • ​emergency repairs

    • capital improvement (repaving parking lot)n

    • utilities (except water)

Cost of Proposal

The levy itself it set to generate 1.5 mill in the 5 year duration.  

  • The projected revenue will be $44,382 per year

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  • The cost to a $100,000 homeowner - $52.50 Per Year

Goals of the SAFD in the future following the levy

The goals of the SAFD following the anticipated passing of the levy is the purchase of a new rescue pumper.  This would replace the 1989 engine 102 and become the front line engine for all fire related calls, moving 103 to reserve status. Also this new engine would be the primary unit on all motor vehicle accidents taking the work load off of the already struggling 1998 rescue 108.  

Questions?

If you have any questions please contact Fire Chief Al Schmitz at 440-986-5901.

 

This webpage has been provided for informational purposes only.

South Amherst Fire Department
105 West Main Street
South Amherst, Ohio 44001
(440) 986-5901

Updated 10-13-19